Back To The Principles

The frequency of my posts has dropped as I am back in the academic portion of my schooling. For the moment I will likely stay away from the Marion Clark posts so that I may pay as much attention to my academic work as possible. That being said, I want to share some thoughts that are pertinent to every Osteopathic Operator.

Through my schooling at the CAO it is clear that Osteopathy has nothing to do with techniques. In principle, there is no such thing as an Osteopathic technique. I am very young in my Osteopathic journey so this is likely a big statement to make, however it is a statement that I am very comfortable with. In essence this is not even a statement that I am making – it is a statement that Dr. Still made.

Still started and ended everything with principles and a legitimate understanding of anatomy and physiology. It is the Operator’s duty to do the same. The reality of Osteopathic treatment is that the Operator should be able to treat anyone in any place. What do you do when you have a patient laying on their side that can’t roll over and you have to treat the ribs on the left side? What do you do when you have a patient with an acute right psoas but the pain is not on a counterstrain point? What do you do when you have to go indirect on the tibialis anterior and your patient has an acute ankle that you can’t use as a long lever? Techniques just won’t cut it in the real world. The good news is that you can deal with all of these situations in very simple ways IF you understand the principles. The barrier concept highlights the ability to go direct (in to the restriction), indirect (away from the restriction), or balanced (the point between the barriers). It is through the barrier concept and the understanding of the neural implications of going in to or away from the restriction that the Operator has the basic treatment protocol for any situation.

Ok, now you have the barrier concept, so what? As long as the barrier concept is understood and the Operator knows their anatomy, there is nothing that is impossible to treat from an Osteopathic perspective. This is not to suggest that not being able to provide the perfect treatment is an indictment of an Operator, it is to say that the tools are available and they are the principles. It seems to me that no Osteopath will ever be good ENOUGH. Most Osteopathic Operators will be good, just never quite good ENOUGH – there is always a new challenge through the simple anatomical and physiological differences presented by each patient.

I am jumping on this little soap box as I see a lot of technique talk out there in the world and it just seems counterproductive. Frankly (I am piggy-backing on the thoughts of someone else here), technique is simply not Osteopathic. Using and applying a learned technique is more or less following orders while failing to appropriately examine and interact with the patient on the table. Operators that are bound by technique will get good results, the knock is that those results will be primarily attributable to the body’s self healing and self regulating mechanisms.

I am sure I will say this time and again: the heart of Osteopathy is the PRINCIPLES (thank you Robert Johnston!).


4 thoughts on “Back To The Principles

  1. Hi. I’m Korean PT. (I live in South Korea & can’t write English well-.-:::)
    Your blog is very very useful to me and my friend.
    So, I have translated your writing into korean and posted in my blog.
    Of course, I’ve revealed the source.
    Your blog is my favorite site.^^
    Thank you for your work!!!

    • Thank you for providing me with the space to learn and the knowledge to draw from. I am forever grateful for the hard work and dedication yourself and the teaching staff at the CAO have put in so that students may be knowledgeable enough to become competent practitioners.

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